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April 22, 2011
Buckeye Spring Football Blog 2011
By Nate Oliver

This spring, my main focus has been just to go out on the field each day and get better at one thing. As players, we try to be perfect on everything that we do, but sometimes, it just doesn’t happen, so I broke it down to getting better at something each day. I think I have made progress toward the player that I want to be for this football team, but obviously there is still a lot of work to be done, so I’m going to continue to work in the off-season and during fall camp to get there. As far as what I was hoping to improve in my game this spring, I think the main thing was for me to just go out there and have fun. Whenever you have guys out on the field flying around having fun and doing what they are supposed to do, you will be successful.

The thing my position group has focused on this spring has been our alignments, keys and assignments. The game of football happens so fast that if a person isn’t keyed into what he is supposed to be doing, there is a chance that the play or call made won’t be successful. We’ve made it important to align correctly every play, read our keys and know exactly what we are doing on each play. I feel our group has taken steps forward this spring; we just need to continue to improve to become the safety unit that we want to be.

This spring, Bradley Roby has really impressed us as a guy who can go out there and make plays. A few other guys who have had a good spring in my opinion are Travis Howard, Chad Hagan, J.T. Moore, Dorian Bell, Jamie Wood and Jaamal Berry.

The team’s energy has been great this spring. Guys are running around having fun and just doing what we love to do. Everyone has been working hard to perfect his craft and everyone is always competing. Every day, we go out there and we try to show up the offense and the offense does the same thing to us; in the long run we are only making each other better players. Leadership was something that a lot of people have questioned with this group, but we seniors have taken the opportunity to show the coaching staff, along with the fans that will be there Saturday, that we accept the challenge at hand.

If the fans come to the spring game, they can expect to see guys flying around and having fun. This year’s spring game is going to be a little different from that of past years but still fun nonetheless. Fans will get the opportunity to get a sneak peak of what this year’s team is going to look like.

 

April 22, 2011
Buckeye Spring Football Blog 2011
By Andrew Sweat

Spring practice for us has been all about competing and striving to become the best we can, as individuals and as teammates. We concentrate on the tradition of the Silver Bullets, and strive to be just like our predecessors. There are a lot of young guys who have an opportunity to step up and compete for a starting position. I think these guys understand the roles they possibly could be in, and the 2011 Buckeyes need young guys to step up.

Andrew Sweat” src=”http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/pics32/200/MP/MPITDWXXCJZRSJP.20110422154251.jpg” width=144 mce_src=”/pics32/200/MP/MPITDWXXCJZRSJP.20110422154251.jpg” mce_>As a linebacker, I’ve tried to improve on all aspects of my game. Moving from the “sam” to “weak” -side linebacker position has been easy, because that is the position I played my freshman and sophomore year. I am trying to practice every day with intensity and concentrate on the little things. I have been lucky enough to learn from guys like James Laurinaitis, Ross Homan, and Brian Rolle, and I tried to learn as much as possible because they all are great players. The fundamentals are something I need to work on — being patient and under control. If you have proper footwork, you have an opportunity to make more plays because your feet are in the ground. I am trying to improve on being a leader each and every day, to mentor some of the younger or less experienced guys, because those guys have a ton of talent. There are several aspects of my game that I would like to improve, but the main thing is improving my leadership skills and leading by example.

The priorities of the linebacker squad this spring have been to play fast and aggressive. We want to play downhill and stop the run, but also improve our footwork and fundamentals. In the Wisconsin game, we did not play downhill, so we are trying to improve each and every day on that. Competition has been at an all-time high this spring, and competing in every drill is something that has been stressed by Coach Fickell. I believe Coach Fickell is the best LB coach in the country and demands our best each and every day. He will not let you have an off day and stresses discipline and being consistent in our practice habits. We lost two great linebackers in Ross and Brian, so we need every guy to step up in order to replace those two guys.

I have been very impressed with Dorian Bell; he seems to be getting the conceptual part of the game, which enables him to play faster with his instincts. Chad Hagan has caught my eye because he had been plagued with injuries, but seems to be healthy and playing well. The most impressive is probably John Simon; there isn’t a play he takes off and his motor is running each and every play. The younger guys can learn a lot from a great player like John and how he practices. Some of the offensive guys like Jordan Hall, Rod Smith, and Braxton Miller have made some nice plays this spring.

I believe our team is the most cohesive it’s been since I’ve been here. Yes, there is adversity, but we have come together in a tight-knit manner and have gotten closer as teammates, but also as friends off the field. I think this is important, because it will only improve our cohesiveness. There are a lot of guys stepping up to try and take over the leadership roles that have been lost, because everyone has his own little niche at being a leader. The energy has been contagious between the offense and defense. Some days the offense gets the best of us, but we will come back and have the energy needed to outdo the offense the next day. The love of the game is evident in each and every play on our team.

If fans come to the spring game, they can look forward to a tough hard-nosed scrimmage between the offense and defense. There are a lot of exciting young players ready to showcase their talents in front of Buckeye Nation. There are several starting spots open this spring and into the fall, and everyone is working hard to grab these spots. Rain or shine, the spring game will occur and we all are excited to get back in Ohio Stadium in front of the best fans in the land!

 

April 19, 2011
Buckeye Spring Football Blog 2011

By Nathan Williams

It’s been a great spring practice so far and we’re not done yet. We still have a week to work and get better every day. I look for Saturday’s scrimmage to be really an intense one, especially for the defensive line. I think we will be all over the field, making plays. It all starts up front – if we control the line of scrimmage, then it’s just that much easier for the linebackers and DBs to do their jobs well.

Nathan Williams” src=”http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/pics32/200/ZY/ZYDAGLTQBZHDFXV.20110422155246.jpg” width=133 mce_src=”/pics32/200/ZY/ZYDAGLTQBZHDFXV.20110422155246.jpg” mce_>The scrimmage will be very competitive, and the defense has some things to prove. I want to have a great showing for all the Buckeyes Saturday, but it would be VERY nice to be able to walk out to practice each day in the scarlet jerseys.

This spring, I’ve really been concentrating on working on my hands, using them with better technique to shred blocks, polishing up my pass rush technique and also run stopping. I’ve also been working to be a good leader as a senior, providing leadership any way I can to our team. I know that’s an important part of being a senior.

I would say for our team, although there are distractions this season, they have not changed who we are or how we work as a team. We’re worried about getting better as players, and that’s our focus day by day. At the end of every day, we want to be satisfied with what we accomplished toward getting better.

I want to mention several of the younger guys on defense who have been looking good – guys that I’ve noticed have really been stepping up. Adam Bellamy is doing great, and I could mention Stewart Smith, Garrett Goebel, Melvin Fellows, Dorian Bell, Jamie Wood, Bradley Roby – these guys have been making some plays! We have some younger guys with a lot of talent and that helps the veterans improve.

 

April 18, 2001
Buckeyes Spring Football Blog 2011
By DeVier Posey

Starting off spring ball three weeks ago is always a good feeling; it’s great to get back on the field and do what we love again. The thing that makes spring so special is the ability to work really hard on your individual game along with working on team concepts. When I say this, I mean it’s a time to experiment with different techniques, find out what works for you, and what doesn’t work. I feel that this spring is the most unique spring I’ve been part of because of so many things going on outside of the team — our position coach departing, NCAA troubles, new position coach, etc. – but those events have caused us to focus on what we can do as a team.

DeVier Posey” src=”http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/pics31/200/XH/XHUUZFCJDWUZMGA.20100911232806.jpg” width=159 mce_src=”/pics31/200/XH/XHUUZFCJDWUZMGA.20100911232806.jpg” mce_>As a team, we’ve had plenty of talks about how we will respond to adversity. Although what’s going on has affected me for the first five games, it’s affected my teammates as well. Not necessarily in a negative way either. It’s forced the younger guys in the wide receiver room to grow up quickly. Along with maturity, they have been asked to compete! Competition breeds improvement, improvement breeds growth, and ultimately that’s exactly what we need in our position group.

Personally, I feel I have grown a lot during the spring. Being in a position where I am facing some adversity has made me hungrier and made me appreciate what I’ve had here at OSU. This humbling situation has allowed me to really think back and think about how and where I want to be when I’m allowed to play again. I’ve taken this opportunity to get better and really treat everyday and every rep like it’s my last, which in turn has made me more intense, wanting to make every play within my reach. My experience in big games makes me want to help others become experienced and help our team grow by giving my all so the younger players have a great example to follow and so the defense gets better as well. For me I feel that I need to condition my mind more, so I don’t make mental mistakes, and improve concentration, so I don’t drop any more passes.

To accompany improving my own skills, I’ve also had to improve my coaching skills. Being a leader in our offense has been key for our younger players, especially at our position this spring with guys who haven’t played much, helping them learn the system in and out so that they can play fast. The guys have definitely listened and improved their skills. I’ve been really happy with the growth of guys like Corey Brown, Chris Fields, Verlon Reed, T.Y. Williams, and James Louis. They have made it their duty each practice to work on something to improve their game. Most of those guys haven’t been here for a full academic year so it’s a lot to ask, but they’ve had a positive response to this challenge.

As a team it’s hard to keep your energy level high during spring, but with so many open spots up for grabs with the departure of seniors, this hasn’t been a problem at all this spring. The leadership from our seniors has been great, too, with more guys like Big Brew, Big Mike, JB, Boom, Terrelle, Sweat, and myself being more vocal has been key. This leadership has also helped the team to continue work harder off the field with extra film study after practice and getting extra lifts to stay on top of our fitness. Also, with the NFL lockout, more former players have been around to give us a few tips: Malcolm Jenkins, Donald Washington, Kurt Coleman, Bobby Carpenter, James Laurinaitis, Anthony Gonzales, Brian Rolle, Bryant Browning and more. Those guys know how to play the game, so we’ve been pretty blessed to have guys like that around watching practice and observing.

Come the spring game scrimmage Saturday, the fans can look forward to a different type of feel. This year we will be pitting the No. 1 offense versus the No. 1 defense. This will be intense! We’ve had two previous scrimmages this spring, the offense dominating the first one, then the defense dominating the second. This has set the stage for the tiebreaker. I’m sure we will all be fired up as a house divided between coaches, and players with everybody wanting to win on this stage to settle the score. Look forward to some head-busting but, I’ll be honest, I’m going with the offense in this one :!

 

April 14, 2001
Buckeyes Spring Football Blog 2011
By Michael Brewster

We are currently eight practices into spring ball and I couldn’t be more pleased about our fast start. We must sustain the progress we have made thus far and continue to make improvements through our last seven practices. The young guys have been making mistakes and learning from them, but at the same time they have been flying around and have been getting after it on the field. Any time you have a group of younger guys, it’s always a positive sign when every practice they are getting better and understanding the plays just a little bit more. I have to give a lot of credit to the older guys, too, for bringing them along and trying to help out as much as they can.

Spring practice has been a great time for me to dust out the cobwebs and to refine my technique and knowledge of the game before we go into summer training. Spring practice is a great tool to use to improve your game so that when fall camp rolls around, you are already that much further ahead. I take spring practice very seriously as I know how important it is to make any improvements I can with the 15 practices we are allowed. I know every year spring ball has made me a much-improved player, and going into my final season, I am making sure that I make every second of spring ball count.

The offensive line has had a much different spring than we’ve had before. We are working with only 11 linemen, so guys have been bouncing around playing many different positions. Guys like Marcus Hall, Andrew Norwell, and Jack Mewhort are playing four or five different positions on the line every practice. In the end though, this will help our unit if guys are versatile and can play a little bit of everything. I am super ecstatic about the O-line this year since it is probably the coolest and most chill group of guys I have ever been around. I am certain we have gotten a lot better, and after we work out all the kinks I am sure this will be one of the best lines I have ever been a part of. We just have to stay focused for these next two weeks so that we can end spring ball knowing we made as much progress as we possibly could; with the group of guys we have I know we will get it done.

I want to give a shout out to a few guys who have impressed me this spring. First off, Big Johnathan Hankins is a force to be reckoned with in the trenches. He is only going to be a sophomore, but he has already established himself as one of the best guys I have gone against since I’ve been in college. I am looking for him to have a huge year. Dorian Bell is looking good at linebacker since he has a great mixture of speed, strength, and athleticism. Another guy you shouldn’t forget about is Etienne Sabino. After taking a redshirt year, he is looking to get back in the action and I am expecting big things from him as I believe it is now his time to shine. We have a stable of running backs that, in my opinion, has to be one of the deepest in the country. I can’t just pick out one running back since they have all been running the ball very well, but I will say Jaamal Berry has had some pretty impressive runs and Jordan Hall has made some nice plays from various spots on the field. There are many other guys I would love to give a shout out to, but those are the guys around the trenches that have really caught my eye lately.

 


April 12, 2001
Buckeyes Spring Football 2011: Halftime Report

By Jim Tressel

As preparations for spring football began, our staff and team certainly had shared off-season experiences that provided tremendous opportunities to improve and grow. We learned a great deal about ourselves and about others. Prior to concerning ourselves with the fundamentals and techniques of the game of football, we felt as if we needed to make some personal decisions as we moved forward. Hence, we chose to read as a team the book, The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews.

The Traveler’s Gift is a simple book that outlines seven decisions that determine personal success. It has been an ideal teaching tool for us as we seek to grow with this young team. For nearly 25 years, I have been utilizing “team books”, and I really feel that this book by Andy Andrews is the perfect book for our football family at this moment in time. We actually have Jerry Rudzinski, former Buckeye great, to thank for sharing this book with our staff. It has been a blessing to both the staff and players.

Taking the field on March 31 for the first day of two straight days in helmets and shorts was exciting. Every year when a new group begins, there is a certain mystery and excitement. We always say that you cannot win the championship in the spring, but you can lose it if you do not progress as needed.

The emergence of leadership in every position group is always crucial. After seven practices, I feel good about the desire by our veterans to be those servant leaders that we need. In our rising senior class, we have a unique blend: 15 scholarship and 10 non-scholarship players. It has been satisfying to observe that whether a young man is on a scholarship or not, he is demonstrating a real passion to serve and to lead. Likewise, whether the young men appear destined to play a great deal or not, they all are trying very hard to do what the team needs in terms of leadership.

Our rising juniors are not as large of a group (21 players), but their work ethic, attention to detail, and passion have given them a forum in their own right to lead this team as well. We really believe that leadership comes from every direction and from all ages of family members.

It is no secret that we have graduated some very special players from our defense. I have always admired over the years how Coach Jim Heacock and his staff have thrived on taking each Silver Bullet unit and developing them from day one in spring practice to the final defensive stop of the season. They always build with their players’ talents in mind, but I really believe the way they develop their attitudes have been the secret …. not just x’s and o’s.

We certainly have significant work to do on the defensive side but they love to run, hit, play together, and the Bullets have superior coaching.

Coach Bollman and his staff have plenty of challenges, as well. Their ability to determine the skill sets of their players and their thorough belief in what an offensive unit needs to contribute to a TEAM, has been a huge part of the Buckeyes’ consistency in recent years. The offensive group has the reality of being without key performers early in the year; therefore, development of depth is essential. A challenge this spring is the low number of offensive linemen yet the importance of high numbers of repetitions for the young QBs, RBs, and WRs. The preseason addition of three more young offensive linemen will be welcomed.

Special units win championships. Without question, an area of significant improvement must be our special units. Thus far, we have worked hard and long on these units. Talent is sufficient in all areas; consistency is the key. The next seven practices leading up to the Spring Scrimmage day are vital. On April 23, we will not utilize our special units as much, as our emphasis will be on the competition between our defense and offense.

Thus far, our injury situation has not been too bad. In Saturday’s practice, Christian Bryant and Adam Griffin had minor injuries that may keep them for practicing, but their recovery will be full and fairly quick. Some of our post-season surgery guys, C. J. Barnett, Scott McVey, Terrelle Pryor, Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown, and Tyler Moeller are continuing to progress and will be 100% for preseason. Unfortunately, we lost Donnie Evege for the season with an early spring injury. He has been doing a great job as a leader, despite his adversity.

The next eight practices are very important as we seek to take a step each day towards our goal of reaching our potential.

Go Bucks!